Silver Fern Farms' Takapau plant in central Hawke's Bay has processed the final run of lambs in a major red meat testing programme.
The meat from 5000 lambs is being tested to measure qualities such as tenderness and taste, as well as the amount of meat produced.
The test programme is part of the Farm IQ project, a seven-year programme funded jointly by industry and the Government.
The aim is to build a new value chain for red meat based on what the customers and consumers want.
Initial results show that meat quality and yield from new composite sheep breeds such as Primera and Lamb Supreme are improving.
Farm IQ chief executive Collier Isaacs says the programme represents a starting point in identifying the genetic traits that will produce the type of meat the market wants.
About 300 farmers are so far involved in the Farm IQ programme, which is still in its pilot phase.